photoshop creative

Design a retro poster in 15 steps!

Posted in:
Tips & Tutorials, by Mark White
January 5, 2016

Combine bold saturated colours with illustrated elements using a range of selection and mask techniques


1. Set up your canvas


Create a new page (Cmd/Ctrl+N), 240mm wide by 310mm high. Press Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+N to make a new layer, enter the name as Space and hit OK. Set Background colour (the lower of the two small squares on the left side menu) to a rich blue; we used #3b57b7.

2. Use selection shortcuts


Use Cmd/Ctrl+A to select the whole canvas, then hit Cmd/Ctrl+Backspace to fill with the Background colour. Hit Cmd/Ctrl+T; in the menu at the top enter W:92% and H:93% to scale the selection (don’t press Enter yet).

3. Create a layer mask


Holding down the Shift key (restricts the direction of movement) and Cmd/Ctrl key (to distort the shape), drag each of the lower points upwards to create the diagonal area for text. Press Enter to apply the transformation then click the Add Layer Mask button.

4. Enter your text


Choose the Type tool (T) and drag a text box across your canvas, starting in the bottom left corner. Go to Window>Character and change the font to a Russian-style typeface – we used a font called Kremlin – colour to #d12e12c, and Size to 98pt. Write your slogan, which should fill the text box neatly.

5. Distort your text


Right-click the text layer in the Layers panel and choose Rasterize Type. Press Cmd/Ctrl+T to Free Transform then, holding down the Shift and Cmd/Ctrl keys again, drag the top-right corner upwards until the text runs parallel with the blue border. Press Enter to apply.

6. Use the Elliptical Marquee


Activate the Space layer and grab the Elliptical Marquee tool. Drag a circle out from the middle of the letter T. Holding down Shift will constrain proportions and Alt will start your selection from the midpoint. Hit Backspace to clear.

7. Fill your planet


Press Alt+S+T and enter W:92% and H:98%. Set the Foreground colour to red (#e33636) for your planet. Hit Alt+Backspace to fill your selection with the Foreground colour then click outside the circle to deselect.

8. Work with vector art


Find vectors of the Earth and some spaceships; alternatively find pictures and apply a Threshold adjustment to them. Drag the vectors into position and hit Enter. When placing an object you can resize it by holding down Shift (as we did earlier) and dragging the corners.

9. Use the Magic Wand


With the Spaceship layer selected, grab the Magic Wand and click on the spaceship. Activate the Space layer mask and set the Background colour to black. Hit Cmd/Ctrl+Backspace to fill the selection, and then delete the Spaceship layer. Repeat step for the Earth layer.

10. Subtract selections


Grab the Elliptical Marquee and drag diagonally downwards to draw an outline for the spaceship’s orbit. Holding down Alt to subtract, draw a smaller ellipse inside the first that overlaps above the spaceship. Fill the resulting crescent shaped selection with black, activating the Space layer mask to apply.

11. Use Colour Range


Activate the main Space layer and place a vector image of some astronauts. Move into position, resize and hit Enter. Right-click>Rasterize Smart Object. Navigate to Select>Color Range and click once on the grey colour of the spacesuit to highlight that colour. Hit OK.

12. Transfer your layer mask


Right-click>Fill, and select Use: Color. Enter #ff6530, hit OK, then deselect. Right-click the Space layer mask and choose Add Mask to Selection. Activate the Astronauts layer and click the Add Layer Mask button to duplicate.

13. Use the Burn tool


Select the Space layer and grab the Burn tool. In the top menu set the Brush Diameter to 1300px, Range to Midtones, and Exposure to 100%. Run your mouse over the top of the sky and bottom of the planet several times to darken.

14. Use blend modes


Head to File>Place and insert an old paper texture, drag the corners to fit and hit Enter. In the Layers panel drag the layer to the top and where it says Normal, use the drop-down to select Multiply. This will apply the layer to everything below it as a texture.

15. Get creative with the Lasso


To finish, add some detail to the Space layer by filling more black shapes in the layer mask. We used the Polygonal Lasso to make star and asteroid-shaped selections. Sometimes you can’t beat the good old-fashioned Lasso!

  • Fabs Elie

    Informative comments , For my two cents , if others requires to merge PDF files , my wife encountered a service here